VPI Pet Insurance

If you are new to pet insurance or having pets you might not have heard of VPI Pet Insurance but the case is that you might actually have anyway. VPI is short for Veterinary Pet Insurance and is one of the oldest pet insurance companies in America today. They specialize in pet animals within the USA so if you live outside of the US you’ll need to find pet insurance coverage elsewhere.

VPI Pet Insurance Plan

As stated on their website you can find coverage from PetPlan.com if you are a Canadian. For people in the UK I recommend reading the article if wrote recently about the Tesco company.

One of the things I really like about VPI compared to many of the other insurance companies that offers pet insurances is that VPI only deals with animals. They aren’t trying to sell you car insurance, home insurance or different mortgage deals. It’s just pet insurance and that is it. As I see it this will give you a lot of different advantages and of course a few disadvantages. But let us have a look at the advantages first.

VPI Pet Insurance – Advantages

Dealing with a company that specializes in pet animals will have you feel comfortable that they know what they are dealing with. Not only do they know insurance but one must assume that they also know a great deal about pet animals and the different aspects that are important when we’re talking coverage from issues like sicknesses, aging symptoms and accidents.

Being one of the oldest and most respected pet insurance companies in the US they have a substantial record of issues they have experienced and dealt with. Now this can also be a disadvantage to you as a customer but I’ll deal with that in a little bit.

Taken from their website a study made by ACI Custom Research in September 2006, show that 9 out of 10 veterinarians (who recommends pet insurance) recommends using VPI as the provider of that insurance. I know that even though it is stated that it was an independent survey it can’t be fully trusted but I do believe that it says something about the quality of the insurance company.

Does this mean that they’ll cover anything? NO! Does it mean that they will have the cheapest solution? NO! But does it say something about what kind of knowledge and credibility the company has? Yes, I think that it does.

I do suggest that you go talk to your pet’s VET and ask what they recommend. It might be VPI and it might not but what is important is that you remember also to ask “WHY” they recommend what they do. Without that question answered you can’t really use their advice in a constructive way. Now on to one of the other advantages I see from choosing VPI Pet Insurance as you provider…

Because they have nearly 400 people employed part of those are highly qualified professionals that are able to answer any specific questions that you might have related to your animals condition. Whether it is sickness or injuries I’m sure that one of the more than 10 veterinarians or 60 veterinary assistants will be able to either answer your question promptly or at least look through their archive of past issues and come up with an answer for you.

Please note that I’m not saying that they are the only company that will be able to do that… far from it, but being focused solely on pets will give them the advantage of only having to concentrate on the one topic.

Last but not least, and I have already mentioned it above, I really like the fact that VPI is not just covering the two favorite animals: Cats and dogs. Sure they are their greatest part of their portfolio but it is nice to know that if you own a horse or have an exotic bird you will be able to get insurance coverage from the same company as when insuring your cat or dog. If you like them as a company it is great that you don’t have to go somewhere else if you decide to get a new pet for yourself.

Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages…

VPI Pet Insurance – Disadvantages

I’ll state upfront that I do feel that there are many more advantages than there are disadvantages by choosing VPI but naturally they will have some advantages (which is negative if you’re the customer) over other not so specialized insurance companies.

First of they ought to be far better at setting the right right coverage price for your specific pet. Where other companies might think that “a dog is a dog”, VPI will know from many years of experience that this is not the case. You’ll therefore risk being charged a higher fee if you have a pet with a greater likelihood of becoming sick or injured. Now all in all that can’t hardly be argued not to be a fair deal but the result will nevertheless be that you’ll have to pay more in insurance fees.

Secondly, the knowledge that VPI has will make the better equipped to avoid paying out the coverage due to small technicalities that they know of. I’m not stating that this is the way they do business. Far from it! But they do have the option and I believe that they will have an easier time doing it than other insurance companies might.

In Conclusion

From reading the above you might think that I’m paid to say as I do or that I have a reason for naming more advantages than disadvantages but I have to tell you that I don’t. Honestly I don’t care what pet insurance company you’ll choose in the end but what I do care about is that you have done your due diligence properly.

Without putting a bit of work into finding the pet insurance company that us right for you, you” probably end up with the wrong one. And in that case why not end up with the specialists at VPI Pet Insurance? I think you’ll be better off than with a company trying to sell you truck insurance as well.

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21 thoughts on “VPI Pet Insurance”

  1. Hi again, It’s me Chris. I responded to your last bit about pet insurance. I thoroughly did my research before choosing pet insurance coverage for my puppy. I ended up going with Trupanion. I would strongly suggest you download a copy of VPI’s policy and read it!! You’d be VERY suprised at the limited coverage that they offer. I could not believe it when I read through their list of EXCLUDED conditions. So, yes, do your research and read the policy. “Oldest” does not mean best value.

  2. Hi Chris, great to have you back. As you very well point out I haven’t read their policy but now that you have mentioned it I better go find it.

    I couldn’t agree more that “oldest” doesn’t have to mean “best” and actually far from it. Comparing policies can however be really really hard for most people and therefore I still suggest that it is better to go for the company that your vet recommends than just taking a wild guess.

    As I’ve said earlier I’ll definitely have a look at Trupanion.

  3. Hey Mikael-

    I was just curious if you’ve seen their benefit schedule and what you thought of that?

    You sure do make a good point – EVERYONE should do their homework before choosing a company!!!!

  4. Hey Must Love Dogs.

    Yes I have seen their benefit schedule and for those that haven’t they can be found here: http://www.petinsurance.com/coverage/benefitschedule.cfm

    They actually have 6 different plans depending on the state you’re in and the type of plan you’ve chosen (standard, superior and avian&exotic).

    What I like about their plan is that it is very specific. Yes it can be hard to read the 4 pages but you will easily be able to compare the benefit plan to other plans from their competitors.

    Secondly I think that they are pretty open about what is not covered. The have a specific page covering what isn’t covered and it can be found here: http://www.petinsurance.com/coverage/whatsnotcovered.cfm

    They even go into breed specifics.

    Does this mean that the benefits are great? No, but it doesn’t mean the opposite either. It just means that it will be fairly easy (if you take the time) to compare to other plans.

  5. I have this insurance and it SUCKS! DO not get it! First of all you pay upfront, then you have to submit a claim then Over a month you MIGHT get a check for a little bit back, but nothing compared to what you pay a month. ALSO the 4 pages you download to see what is covered, is all in VET tearms and if you do not know. So in a simple think like getting a “wart” removed from a paw. WOW how do you look that up?? I even had the Vet make a detailed Quote and I still can’t figure out what is covered and what is not. They make it that way so they can rip you off..STAY AWAY from this company

  6. Sara, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m not trying to defend the insurance company in any way but I think you need to be fair to them.

    First of all, there is nothing unusual in paying insurance upfront. I’ve never heard of any other option (the company would be stupid to have it any other way).

    When accidents or illness occur then it is only natural that you will have to file a claim. This is also standard procedure so you can’t hold that against them either.

    Whether a processing time of one month is fair or not is hard to say. If you have provided them with every little bit of information that they needed then it might seem a little to long. If not, then I find it only fair.

    If you bought an insurance with the idea that it would be a “money making machine” on your part then you can’t hold that against the company either. That is NOT the idea behind insurance coverage.

    Finally you can argue that terms ought to be understandable to common people but even if they aren’t then it is YOUR obligation and not theirs to call them up and ask questions until you DO understand.

    I’m sure that you do not understand everything when it comes to the laws of your country (even laywers don’t) but that doesn’t mean that you can run around breaking them because you “just didn’t know”. It’s you job to either spend the time and ask the questions to learn OR accept the way that things are. Either way the choice is yours!

  7. VETERINARY PET INSURANCE IS A TOTAL RIP OFF! Trust me.

    I bought insurance for my dog with VPI for 8 consecutive years. When my dog got old and I really NEEDED the benefit of that insurance I’d invested in for those 8 years, they canceled my policy. Turns out this is legal — the State of California Dept. of Insurance said VPI didn’t have to give me a valid, quantifiable reason for canceling.

    Consumer Reports did a study and concluded you are just as good putting the money into a savings account. Seeing as VPI took my money for 8 years and then canceled when my dog got old (and was apt to actually get benefits paid out), you can see why buying pet insurance could be a BIG waste of money.

    According to the Orange County Register, VPI was under investigation by the SEC for financial ‘improprieties”. Do you want to trust your pet’s health to an organization like this?

    Avoid VPI and just put your money in a savings account.

    p.s. The founder of VPI, Jack Stephens, is a trophy hunter. Ironic isn’t it? He says he cares about animals but he kills animals for fun.

  8. Folks,
    I’ve found this site incredibly useful and the posts as well. Anyone have any feedback on Trupanion yet? I have an 8 yr old lab and did not like the treatment that Banfield gave us after being loyal customers for most of those 8 years. My dog has dysplasia but thankfully has been healthy for 99% of the 8 years we’ve been together. I’d really like to ensure her needs are taken care of and am looking for an insurance company that I can trust. I expect to pay costs, the part I’d like to be certain of is that they will reimburse me to some degree if I pay into a plan. SUggestions/feedback would be much appreciated.

  9. Just wanted to put my two cents in regarding VPI. I have wasted my money on them for the past ten years. My dogs have been covered their entire life. They have been healthy and have never used the insurance. My older dog just turned 10 and had a case of kennel cough that didn’t respond to treatment. It turned into pneumonia for which he had to be hospitalized. The coughing dislocated his back and he had to be treated and seen for that issue as well.
    I read my schedule of benefits. But still I called them to verify what was covered. Now I realize that I was given a vague, inflated “potential” reimbursement scenario. And they made it verythat on the standard plan, they only pay 90% of the allotted coverage. And the allotted coverage is PER ILLNESS. So it didn’t matter that my dog started with one disease that progressed to another, that needed followup checkups, or that he relapsed and needed further treatment. They considered it all one. And my bill for reasonable and customary service, of $2200+ got me a reimbursement of $326.55. Guess what my annual premium is? $340.
    Scam. Scam. Scam. TImes two, as we have two dogs.
    I certainly will look into Trupanion and I would appreciate any info on any other companies. I feel intensely ripped off.

  10. VPI is clearly not the best in insurance – You really need to review what they don’t cover – the benefit schedule you posted gives absolutely no information on what they actually don’t cover – There is a 7 page document – not available online – of things they don’t cover. Why are you so negative on Trupanion? Trupanion no exclusions – other than pre-existing. Tru panion does not consider “congenital” pre-existing.

  11. This was great; I am strongly considering Trupanion and the feedback has been very informative. I recently adopted a 4 month old mix breed and after years of having dogs without any insurance I wanted to start off right. I did get Banfield for her first year for a wellness plan and am now looking for insurance. Thanks again.

  12. VPI is the worst!! Save your money, they will exclude from policy anything your pet has been to vet for in the past even an ear infection and you won’t find this out until you make the first claim and they request the medical records. They rendered me no service at all and refused to refund my policy. Sales reps tell you anything to sell policy and customer service reps are not worth the free phone call.

  13. Hello!
    I have been searching insurance for my dog for the past 6 month. She is a healthy 3 years old pekingese. I am still confuse about pet’s health insurance. Can someone please recommend me a really good one. Or should I just continue without pet insurance?

    Thanks !

  14. My experience is that VPI automatically denies each and every claim. After paying for over a year, when my dog got pneumonia they said it was for a pre-existing condition. Other claims were all automatically denied. I think they simply hope you give up rather than pursue a claim. Save your money and keep from getting aggravated by these loathsome company. They are the worst. Any other company has to be better!

  15. In response to Karlys –
    You can’t seriously think someone is going to give you an answer, can you? What’s “good” for one person, may not be good for your individual concerns. You need to do the research yourself, so that you can’t say “nobody told me” down the line, like Sara did. RESEARCH people! Print out some different plans, so that you can look at them on paper. Highlighters help!

  16. Furthermore.. to you people COMPLAINING that you never had a need to use the pet insurance and it was a waste of money.. You are among the lucky few that have had a healthy pet! But INSURANCE is usually there to cover the unexpected/unplanned. You are paying a small amount monthly to insure you are covered if something big happens.

  17. The problem with VPI is that they have a arcane and archaic schedule of what they will pay out. For example, if a procedure at the vet costs you $200.00, VPI may consider “reasonable and customary” costs are $125.00. So, 90% of $125.00 minus your deductible is the best you will get.

    My late newfie had oral melanoma. His bills came in at roughly $5,100.00. I carried a cancer rider on him which is supposed to pay double. They paid me roughly 50% or $2,600.00.

    I will never use VPI again.

    Please do your homework before purchasing pet insurance.

  18. VPI covered 20% of my $1,000 bill for a common but severe urethra problem that my cat had. I do not suggest them!

  19. I’ve called VPI on two occasions trying to get more information on what this insurance is all about. Each time, the phone call would be rushed and then I would get a lecture on the fact that my questions were useless, that I should just get the darn insurance if I really loved my pet. Seriously? Everyone loves their pet, why would you insure your pet in the first place if you weren’t thinking about their well being, which I believe stems from love? I called my vet and they mentioned VPI or Trupanion. I think VPI needs to get new reps, not just a bunch of bums sitting around trying to guilt you into buying their insurance. Additionally, after reading all the comments from the people above, it clearly shows that older is NOT better. I’m surprised VPI hasn’t gone out of his business in this day and age where 1. people want value and quality for what they’re paying for; 2. stability and trust in things like insurance! and 3. customer service. Thanks for the info everyone, never again will I ever consider VPI for anything.

  20. VPI is the biggest rip off ever. I have been fighting them for 2 months to get reinbursed for my dog’s emergency bladder stone surgery. They
    said that the stones were a pre-existing conditon becuae she got needed the surgery 3 weeks after I paid for a whole year of insurance. I said how was I suppose to know what is going on inside her. She can not talk!!
    They DO NOT CARE! So if I have the coverage and she is diagnosed with
    cancer they can say she had it all along! She sprained her leg jumping
    of the deck, when I first told them about it they were ok with it.
    Now that she has a bladder condition they have added her bones to the
    darn exclusion list. DO NOT BUY THIS COVERAGE. RIP OFF RIP OFF RIP OFF

  21. VPI’s not the best, but not the worst. Do the homework before submitting a claim so you don’t accidentally lump something together when it ought to be claimed under several different diagnoses. Make sure you have a copy of their list of conditions/treatments showing the “reasonable and customary” amounts before you start filling out the paperwork. That makes it easier to give them the diagnosis they need so they can match it with a “code.” Also send an itemized receipt from your vet along with the claim form. You have to be very, very specific. Our Lab has had several abdominal surgeries and is allergic to everything in the world… He has to have regular B-12 shots, allergy (VARL) shots, etc. WE found that B-12 should be filed as a treatment for “anemia,” not as treatment for Short Bowel Syndrome. With a dog who has had so many major health problems, we’ve done OK with VPI. Some rembursement amounts have been laughable due to “reasonable and customary,” but that’s a common complaint I’ve heard about almost every company. The bad stuff about VPI is about comparable to the bad stuff I complain about with my own “Human” insurance. We had our other dog on PetPlan for a year, but they are leaving the pet insurance visit.

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